Understanding Mama Taraba’s Political Storm

Understanding Mama Taraba’s Political Storm

Sunday, September 10, 2017 8:32 pm

Tunde Asaju

By Tunde Asaju

I don’t know what some people smoke, but the demand in some quarters that Mama Taraba, a.k.a. Jumai Alhassan, should resign is not only uncalled for, but also wicked. Resign for what? Having a heart for Atiku while working for Buhari? Where in the annals of Naija consciousness is such a precedent set? Please people, stop watching, reading or listening to foreign news. I warn that foreign perceptions corrupt natural ideas. It is not in our character, nor in our blood for people to resign.

A lot of things are hinged on government appointments. From personal experience, you may have applied based on your qualifications or your connections, but once you are hired, selected or elected, the position you occupy is no longer exclusively yours. Rather, it becomes public position where members of your family believe that the divine gyrocompass have finally found the family coordinates in you. The clan claps its hands and rushes to the family shrine to pour libation to the ancestors for finally manipulating the compass of fortune to their side. The village or community begins to look forward to the fortunate as the divine ladder needed to uplift everybody to the pinnacle of success.

Of course, the hireling’s religious group need no verbal queue to kick-start the process of thanksgiving. Religious leaders take the cue and organise special programs such as special harvests or launching in which the elect is the chairperson or special guest of honour. Of course, every potential benefactor in these groups are armed to the teeth in the defence of the fortunate and would usually not take kindly to any criticism or attempted denunciation of the favoured by any member of a rival family, kin, village or religion whose days of glory are marking time on the divine voice mail database.

Disappointment usually comes when the favoured one begins to demolish the foundations of the old family mud house because Julius Berger is on standby with its prefabricated blocks instead of opening the way for the cement, sand and chippings seller from the villagers.

What I am trying to remind us is that an appointment requires personal attributes to get but its prestige is commonly shared. Nobody who is appointed is allowed to resign until they have held court with all those whose bragging rights are likely to be affected by that resignation. For those calling on Mama Taraba to resign before publicly announcing her switch of loyalty from Buhari to Atiku be informed that it won’t happen. Those mooting this idea are wicked people hoping to put a wedge of enmity between two brothers from two geo–political zones, the Sai Baba dynasty of Daura and the Turaki empire of Adamawa. As we say in Naija, God pass una!

We have no way of knowing how the controversy started in the first place. Was Mama Taraba, an unapologetic Turakist flying a kite for her mentor? Or did a wicked person deliberately leak the video to put her in trouble? The headlines reflect what Trump would have dismissed as fake news. One records her saying she would rather lose her job than deny her mentor and her commitment to his known presidential ambition. Another quotes her as saying that neither Buhari nor Atiku have discussed their presidential ambition with her; yet another says that Buhari had intimated her that he would not be pursuing a second term. But as I write, another headline is saying that she is so loyal to Atiku she was willing to risk political Siberia than retract her statements.

For the misfortune that Naija has had of being led by retired soldiers, loyalty could be in the eye of the beholder. The Wizard of Ota says he expects 120% loyalty. Sai Baba has yet to put a figure to it but if the 120% parameter is a statute of military interpretation, then Mama Taraba may be in trouble. If she is categorised either as a hyena or a jackal in the zoo headed by by the Lion King, her political future is dicey.

While the whistle for the 2019 games is yet to begin, she has called her mentor into the ring. In the days of the PDP, Tony Anenih would have reminded her that there is no vacancy in Camp Buhari. In Naija, being sentenced to political Siberia is not good for any politrician except those suckling the tits of the Turaki udder of generosity. A monetarily frugal Sai Baba is not known to buy loyalty with cash or even position. So, conventional wisdom is that those who choose to stay on do so at their own peril except they’re bitten either by the bug of loyalty to state or they get a little help from the evil service. The big question is, can a servant serve two masters with equal loyalty? The answer is blowing in the wind.

For now, all we can say is that the race for 2019 has started in earnest. Those who witnessed the horse-trading that threw up Sai Baba at the last convention of the ruining party and Turaki’s experiences in politrics are promised a turbulent ride. There’s turbulence all over the world, and only the luckiest survive. Tai Solarin was a man like us and his favourite prayer for this ride is – may our roads be rough.

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